Sunday, August 29, 2010

Groceries in the yard

Just a few of the eggs from this morning. I cant tell you how kind it would be if the chickens would get together and decide on 1 spot to lay eggs. I check around 8 spots daily, and some days there are none in those spots and I have to think what did they do with them and we dont ever find out. We still get plenty however and the chickens being free range makes them happy and healthy.
My friend Amanda and I were talking about groceries recently. About loading them into a cart, at a store, then onto the belt, then into bags, into the car, into the house, out of the bags, into the cabinets and fridge. How annoying is that she asks me? What can we do to change that? Well she and I are both well on our way. Gardening has proven tough here, first because I planted where there was too much shade. Then, I didnt have loamy enough soil. A number of foods still grew well though and we mulched and weeded and enjoyed the harvest we did have. The 26 days of no rain and excessive heat was hard hard on my summer garden however...
We now have a bit of a fall garden in and when frank returns from his tng, he will help me make some cold frames and temporary greenhouses and I will winter garden! As it is, we get milk and eggs from our barnyard, and buy dry goods in bulk in huge buckets. We are raising a meat goat to butcher next mo, and have butchered many chickens now and dont have to buy any chicken at the store. Tad has arranged, with me, to raise 2 steers for beef and so I am on the lookout for 2 little steers for him!
See, thats grocery shopping in the yard. Now if only I could go range someones land, if I could find someone with hundreds of acres that would let me walk it in fall and spring, I could forage for my herbs and extra veggies!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's Saturday

The tire swing, with a backtground of truck full of manure. You probably wouldnt have noticed that right?

Punk posed for me, thoughtful as she is rather wild.

Shouldnt something special happen because its Saturday? I dont guess so. We are doing school, sewing, cooking, taking a walk, playing some board games and possibly watching a movie tonight. Oh and I took a bunch of photos and deleted and edited for a few minutes. That was special. Nathalie wants banana muffins so she is making those. I went to the barn this morning with my camera for a change, its a hard thing to remember.
Tango's curious ears, I love how expressive goat ears are. Thats somebody's rump, I believe dreamer. Tango is hoping for some extra grain, but these were taken 2 hrs after feeding and I cannot possibly think that they expected I would believe a whole day had passed and it was time again for grain.
Out of order, Tad was waiting at the gate when I came up. Love the overall and no shirt look!
These are our ducks, all grown up. They live in the barn with the goats and use a small swimming pool for washing, playing, breeding... yes ducks require water to breed and to lay egs. They do not lay eggs IN the water, but if they do not have water to play/swim in, they will not breed and they will not lay eggs.
Everyone is expectant as if they were not fed at all today and dont still have hay in their feeder.
I laid an egg! I laid an egg! This is what my chickens do when they lay an egg, let everyone know about it.
Might be dinner, the 2 little ones. Dont know yet, if roosters then yes. Or maybe lunch. The gray bantam hatched these chickens out herself!
Once again, perhaps dinner. These are month old chicks that this bantam mama and a rhode island red hen sat.
This is my girl, shes my best girl along with her mama. Her mama isnt Zoe and zoe is the taller goat standing next to her. Punk was 5 mo old last tuesday and she is 77 lbs aprox. She is huge! Her mother has weaned her, or Punk weaned herself just this wk. Last wk, Nona had milk. Today, she doesnt. She is standing next to my largest/heaviest girl, not the thickest just weighs the most. I am happy with how fast Punk has grown and next year will leave all doelings on to 4 mo for this reason. She has been a bit wild, but is gentling well by me forcing her to be friendly with me each morning when I grain them.
Okay so thats saturday. Well not really, those are the pictures I have taken on saturday. Frank is still away at training, we are doing homeschool stuff even on wkends and the children are doing well with music lessons. Thats it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Science and ice cream

Yesterday I read a fellow bloggers post on science. Like her, I have never used a science text book. My friend wrote a great curriculum that includes sci, and I am terrible about sticking with a unit study. So my kids, well do they lack in science? They do fecal samples. They do blowing up experiments with baking soda and water, they learn to dye fabric with procian and non procian dyes. They learn to make fuel and soap, which includes chemicals of course. Hmm. Science, its necessary in school to have boring textbooks right? I remember these. School AND homeschool, I didnt learn from these science textbooks, I learned to hate it. That was it. Mostly, its learned enough to pass but fun, is not had in these texts.

Fun was had here today! And many things learned. The children bought some rock salt from the local grocery store, which they had to search for. Tad read several project books, we have sci experiment/project books and he loves them. He finds the ones we have ingred for and does them with his sister, and occasionally my help. I do not require note taking, or anything "unfun" to go along with these. That really takes away the desire I have learned. If he is lacking ingredients, he makes a list. More often than not, I buy his ingredients but sometimes he desires to.

They measured out a small amt of sugar and vanilla into a small zip bag, added 1 cup fresh chilled goats milk and sealed it. Then they used a gallon bag half full of ice with 6 tablespoons of rock salt, put small bag sealed in big bag, sealed, and shook for about 5 minutes and look! They have vanilla ice cream! They noted that it isnt french vanilla, because that uses eggs.
Jar of fresh goats milk, Tad remembered to thank both Zoe and Pheonix (our does in milk) this morning as he helped to milk them. He thanked them for cereal and ice cream and Nathalie thanked them for homemade mac and cheese. I thanked them for fresh feta...

This is the bag shaking, it ended up going outside to avoid the drippy water on the floor. Tad noted that the salt stung his wounds on his hands, and Nathalie noted that it tasted a bit different than regular salt. They both noted the larger size, and wonder why rock salt is different than coarse sea salt.

Here is the recipe, this book was gifted to me by a homeschooler in Sc whose children were grown. It has been a wonderful science aid.

They both admitted that their hands were a bit chilled and that if Daddy wants a bag of ice cream when he is home, he can make it himself. They have no intent to shake daddy's bag for him. They think he would like for mama to make some cookie dough to mix into his, or at least crush some oreos.

Still shaking... Seems to take forever, but not as long as making butter in a jar they remember. That was a fun project!

This was the measureing process, somehow I put these photos COMPLETELY BACKWARDS but I am not switching it around. These are cheap ingredients, and at 2 tablespoons of sugar per kid, its not bad! They ate it straight out of the bag, and as you all know I wash and reuse zip lock bags so not an expensive project at all. Lots of salt leftover for many more ice cream servings!

Nathalie is still in her Pjs, but hey. Its saturday! She has been out in this today, milking goats, mucking barns and breaking her bicycle so why not make ice cream in the same outfit?

Tad read the ingredients first and quickly learned that he was confused without the directions, just like a cooking recipe. He then skipped down to directions first before he tossed the milk into the salt/ice mix...
This was a fun project and covers science for one day next wk, which is on our wkly schedule 2 days a wk. Thankfully their lives and their own personal experiments cover their science needs so far.

Proceed with caution

Please remember people, I raise goats, chickens, ducks AND children. For those of you who just like the pictures, or are interested in the life we have OUTSIDE of goat feces, skip this post okay? If you are interested or have a strong stomach, please, feel free to proceed. I did start, with a friend, a blog about goats and sewing. I have a hard time with this, I cannot seem to keep up with both so I prefer to put it all here. I want people to be able to find help from my scientific studies, so post it here in hopes that their search will bring them to help!

Okay, no photos right now... You are thanking me, please trust me. I started running fecals on my own goats, this is an expensive thing to have done at the vet if you need them run on each goat, or have them run several times due to illness or even curiosity.

My friends goats came and lived here for a few wks, some of her goats became very ill as did a few of mine. This was for a few reasons, for her goats they were on a new pasture, with new goats, new illnesses, new weather and new worms. This was hard on them and it took a lot of work on Amanda's part keeping them healthy... Thankfully, she did a good job and they are all fine!

2 of my sick ones, were very small girls so here are a few notes.

1. Do not take goats off of their dams or bottles before 12 wks of age. Those pulled at 8 wks are much smaller.

2. When you DO pull kids, DO deworm. They will become sucesptable.

3. If you buy a small goat from someone else herd, DEWORM and then put on some sort of growing feed or milk if they are under 12 wks of age.

4. As soon as you see signs of any problems follow these directions. This is what the vet would do, this will save you money.
-Take rectal temperature, record in a notebook kept only for goats. Make sure you mark date, even note the temperature/weather outdoors for long term understanding.
-Collect a fecal sample from this goat only, not a combined sample.
-Do a fecal float, and look under microscope for worm load, coccidiosis, salmonella and ecoli. The 2nd two I have not seen in my goats feces, but you can see photos of this online.

Record all of your findings. From the fecal sample, you may see what needs to be treated. If you see no worm overload or large amount of cocci and your goat does have a temperature, perhaps she has a bacteria. Pay attention to her nose, is it runny? Look at her eye lids, gums, feel her rumen. Read up on pulse, temperature and rumen activity to expect so you know if you are feeling/seeing something that shouldnt be.

Many times if your goat has signs of illness such as diarhea, you want to call or go to the vet. Or even just treat with peptobismal or kao pectate. This isnt always the best idea, first try to discover the problem. Has your goat been vaccinated with Cd and t? Is it time to do so again? Are you keeping a worming chart, have you kept up with chemical or herbal dewormer?

Keep your notebook up, this is something I have not been good at previously. My notebook will be messy, but it will stay dated. If you keep it dated and enter each thing you notice change wise, you will learn from your own herd and have that to look back on.

Okay now, the more icky stuff. You can see tapeworm IN your goats feces, both segments and egg packets. I have a small goat who did have this occur, I saw segments in his feces. So, I treated him with chemicals. There was no change whatsoever though I tried to follow the directions for goats, IE worming with 4x the amount. I had also a small girl whose brother died from something.. and she and her living brother (part of a neighboring herd at this time) are both small, emaciated with slit eyes that are leaking.

There are 2 worms that can cause these symptoms, barber pole worm and tapeworm. Both can do serious dammage to your goats. I treated my small goats with a strong herbal dewormer that targets both types of worms and its working considerably better than the chemical wormers. I have given both chemical and herbal dewormers, both to sick and healthy goats and do see on fecals that the herbs are much more effective.

1/4 cup ground oat flour
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (this is the tapeworm treatment)
1 tablespoon each of black walnut powder, fennel, thyme, hyssop, oregon grape root and fenugreek.

Mix all of this with some honey and water. For those that are very thin, I also mix 1 tablespoon of slippery elm root powder or not with boiling water and let sit, then add to the mix. This helps the worms to exit, but also helps smaller goats put on weight. The oatmeal is good for them, and also helps to create a paste. I used an empty deworming syringe, it was a safegaurd syringe which is thick and has a nice tip. I give 1/3 of this per small goat, 1/2 per large goat which is about 10 and 15 ml respectively. I did this daily for 2 wks.

For those that were very wormy, I was also giving 1 tsp of wormwood ground daily either in a drench, or in their paste for 3 days. Only 3 days, do not give it longer. Take a break at that point for a month and then give again if necessary, look at fecals before deciding its necessary.

Do not give wormwood to a milking doe if the milk goes to human babies. Freeze or save enough milk and use her milk for only older humans for a couple of days. It will not hurt older humans at all, matter fact its sort of good for you to deworm occasionally!

Once the goats all have good fecals, you wont need to give this more than 1 x a wk. You can then use dry loose herb, not powder, and give in grain making sure each goat gets his/her fair share, or you can continue to give in a paste, or even a drench by making a strong tea with the herbs.

As a last note, blackberry root is a good herb to have on hand. It works like herbal peptobismal when your goat just has the runs from excess pasture, or too much grain. I also like to keep rosehips, elderberry and neem mix for them to have as an immune boost and everyone gets a bit of this daily in their grain.

Keep your goats on free choice minerals and baking soda, extra copper in selenium deficient areas and their worm loads will be lower. Give an injection of Vit B when your goat isnt well, if its too much he/she will just pee it out, it wont hurt.

Okay now later, I will take photos of a fecal float, my children have learned so much scientifically with these procedures! On that post, I will again warn you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More of Ks

School today

When Frank is away from home, the house gets pretty cluttered. We clean it up, just not as early as we otherwise would have. Sometimes, the dishes and bathroom cleaning are all that is done for I dont know, three days??? So, these pictures show some nice mess. However, I have to note that we have quite a few instruments for being a homeschool family of 2 children. Nathalie and I are both playing violin, Tad and I are both playing guitar and I can play the piano... used to play well. I am learning again, am on a level 2 book working thru on my own before I teach the kids.

This is our school cabinet, in comparison to the rest of the house it is quite neat. This is where our books and manipulatives are stored when they are put away. 2/3 of this bottom shelf are drawing books, coloring books and paper. We do a lot of art though Tad does not enjoy it.

And this class is called... um, uh. Tad is shooting me with a flyswatter, can you see that? Nathalie is dancing this crazy happy dance to some guy explaining how to keep time on violin and play open d string FORRRRREEEEEEVERRRRRR! Its not a fun cd for me but it seems to help her.

Wow I thought the previous dance was crazy. Who taught that girl to dance? Or did she just inherit her daddy's dancing capability? Because I KNOW I dance better than that!

We are on schedule for school. We are enjoying MOST of this, during math presentationt his morning Tad was looking physically ill. I paused in mid fraction to ask him if he had a hairball and he answered, "Mama there are so many things I would rather be doing right now. Reading, geography, a science game, even drawing. Especially playing my guitar. I dont want to learn fractions at all!" Oh well sorry big guy. Too bad...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010



See the first picture? Taken with a flash. Second taken without, and the 2nd one looks like winter. You can see the "frost" which of course isnt frost at all. I captured these just before 7 am a few mornings ago when I came in from chores. Each day I see a sunrise or sunset, I run for my camera. They all start to look the same, but each evening and morning they seem so startlingly different from the day before.
I am grateful for such a life that allows me time to sit and enjoy the waking and sleeping of the sun, and the world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Child Labor

So this is how you do it right, then you can do it when I am tired and want to sit in a chair. Okay?

I got this daddy, see I can do it. You can back up now, I wont cut my arm off and look, mama is still breathing over there!

There, showed that 18" log! Now, where should the next cut start daddy?

Mama I have a way of looking tragic. Surely this will get me somewhere in life, someone will say, wow that girl is good at looking sad and downtrodden! And likely mama, I will live in a high rise and tell all my friends how pitiful it was that I had to work out in 118 heat index... JUST KIDDING MAMA!!! I am NEVER moving away from you! We are attached forever.
Its still hot out here. Daddy can I go in the house now?

This is Rachel. She was feeling tragic too. Because its hot. Every day. With no breaks between, by 8 am and doesnt let up till 9 pm. But she braved it, she got out there and carried logs and limbs, and kindling and stacked them on the trailer with the rest of us. What a nice girl, I want to keep her! She works despite how miserable it was!

I did get some good sillouette shots of her watching her daddy work on his chainsaw, this girl loves her daddy. I am pretty sure he hangs the moon for her at night.

Even in the heat her blond hair and blue eyes are just pretty! Rachel belongs to Amanda and Jeramiah, our friends from N Ca who have moved down here to Hutchinson. They have stayed and worked with us on the wkends, their goats and dog live here and they close on their house this wk. They are very excited to have a home of their own! Tired of a hotel they are...

I know my lighting is poor at the top of the photo, especially to the right but I love this picture. She had no idea she was being photographed and I just love the sideways photo.

Last but not least, this is their little boy punk Andrew or Drew. Oh my this babies eyes... I would adopt him, or if his parents lived farther away, I would STEAL him to keep him and hold him and squeeze him, he is sweet and shy and quiet and perfect... I am in love.
See the shy? Its far sweeter than he realizes....

Yes he is a keeper. I have to have a little girl that can grow up and marry him so that he can be sort of mine then and he is just sweet!